Annual flu vaccinations have become a regular chore for a lot of people, while the fear of needles has kept quite a few people away. An easier way of getting vaccinated would help get more people to participate.
Researchers at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have tested a new patch that allows just about anyone to deliver a flu vaccine in the privacy of their home. The microneedle array consists of 50 tiny needles that inject the vaccine into skin where the immune reaction begins. The team compared self administration to a professional applying the patch, and also against traditional syringe delivery. Though there was no actual vaccine involved in the trial, the study examined how well each patch penetrated the skin surface and whether it would be an effective delivery option for self delivery of vaccine. Here are some results from the study:
To simulate vaccination, subjects received placebo microneedle patches given three times by self-administration and once by the investigator, as well as an intramuscular injection of saline. Seventy participants inserted patches with thumb pressure alone and the remainder used snap-based devices that closed shut at a certain force. Usability was assessed by skin staining and acceptability was measured with an adaptive-choice analysis. The best usability was seen with the snap device, with users inserting a median value of 93–96% of microneedles over three repetitions. When a self-administered microneedle patch was offered, intent to vaccinate increased from 44% to 65% (CI: 55–74%). The majority of those intending vaccination would prefer to self-vaccinate: 64% (CI: 51–75%). There were no serious adverse events associated with use of microneedle patches.
Study in journal Vaccine: Microneedle patches: Usability and acceptability for self-vaccination against influenza…